William Chris Vineyards – Experiencing “Hye Society”

I blogged just a little about our Sunday trip to William Chris Vineyards for the Malbec release party and Planting show-and-tell. We really went for the “plantlings” that we were going to get since we’re not pleased with the selection at Home Depot. Not that it matters much because I’m quite confident in my ability to torture a plant from a commercial grower as much as a retail nursery.

Yep, we drove four hours to Hye for a two-hour visit and had four more to go for the return trip. But then there was that wonderfully smooth and fruity Malbec. Not ALL fruit and smooth, mind you, but enough to get my tannin-intolerant girlfriend (Julie) to drink a couple of glasses. Still had some dark chocolate and a touch of “earthiness” in it to keep my palate completely mesmerized. I heard from a couple of people that the Single Barrel Club bottles of Malbec were totally on par with the wine club release, and people were actually debating which batch was better. I hedged my bets by picking four bottles of the wine club release to compate with the Single Barrel batch I picked up last month. Either way, I win!

After the perfectly timed planting demo by Chris with just enough information to make me believe that I could actually successfully plant this vine, but not so much information that I get confused, I scooted to one of the tasting bars to grab a couple of glasses and a bottle of Malbec. Julie and I stopped to catch up with Johanna Smiljanic (Tigertail Events), who catered the noms to pair with the wine.

We eventually made our way to a table with some eats our plates and the bottle of Malbec, and a gorgeous afternoon. I would have been perfectly fine sitting alone with Julie and enjoying the view and music, but there was just too much interesting activity going on and my ADD kicked in.

I mentioned Andy before, and I really should find out his last name. Andy is William Chris Vineyards’  marketing manager, and they are a great match – he represented William Chris at the Hill Country Road show last year and definitely got our attention. We watched him criss-cross the winery grounds constantly during the day, and I yelled at him several times to “Slow down!”, jokingly, of course.

Our two-hour visit turned into a few more as we met more friends of the winery. We even got to meet Kathryn (“Mrs. Chris”) and June, their daughter, as the “hangovers” from the days’ festivities gathered around a few tables pulled together. Julie made friends with everyone there while I focused my attention on another local winemaker and friend of Bill & Chris, Erick Hilmy (more to come). We talked a lot about, you guessed it, the Texas wine industry as a whole, but also about his new winery – his philosophy and vision. Why do I have the feeling that we’re getting ready to have our socks knocked off again?

When we pulled onto US 290 at just-past-nine Sunday night, we knew that we had experienced what “Hye Society” is really about. Friends.

Come to think of it, That’s what we have experienced at most of the wineries we visit. Friendship.


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